He had two goals and created Brazil’s third, and now the No. 10 holds the scoring lead at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with four goals in three matches.
It wasn’t a clean performance by any means. Cameroon gave the Brazil defence a lot of trouble at times, and the Indomitable Lions tied the match 1-1 when Joël Matip scored in the 26th minute.
But Neymar came through again when needed most, scoring his second goal in the 34th minute which held up as the winner. Fred scored his first goal of the tournament to seal the Brazil victory, and Fernandinho sealed first place in Group A with a marker in the 84th minute.
Key play 1
An entire nation had its heart in its throat when Matip tied the match, but Neymar created some more magic. He found some room at the edge of the box, cut to the middle, and coolly fired a shot past Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje to give Brazil a lead it wouldn’t relinquish again.
Key play 2
There was still compelling drama after Brazil went up 3-1. That’s because, over in Recife, Mexico was all of a sudden up 3-0 against Croatia in the 82nd minute.
A hush went over the crowd in Brasilia – they knew what it meant. Brazil and Mexico were now tied on goal difference, and another goal from the Mexicans or from Cameroon would mean Mexico was headed for top spot in the group, and the hosts were staring the Netherlands in the face in the Round of 16.
But Fernandinho put those fears to rest, scoring two minutes later, putting the Selecao up 4-1 and sealing top spot in Group A.
Man of the match
Neymar. He is carrying his team and an entire country on his back right now. The best match he’s played so far – creative, dangerous with every touch, and clinical finishing. If only his teammates could begin to match that effort.
It was a good day for…
Hype. Neymar’s face was plastered all over every single thing related to the World Cup for months. Often times that sort of expectation is too much to bear, especially for a 22-year-old. But not so with Neymar. He’s been worth his weight in hype so far.
It was a bad day for…
Going cross-eyed/Getting anything done at work. You needed two screens and the ability for independent movement in each eye to follow all the action in the second halves of both matches. The goals were piling in.
And good luck getting that TPS report filed on time. (You might have to come in on Saturday.)